Nurse Home Visits to Maternal–Child Clients: A Review of Intervention Research


  • Diane B. McNaughton is Assistant Professor, Community and Mental Health Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, Illinois.

* Diane B. McNaughton, Rush University College of Nursing, 600 S. Paulina Street, Suite 1030a, Chicago, IL 60612. E-mail:


Abstract  Home visiting has been considered a promising strategy for addressing the multiple needs of families at risk. Research reviews are a valuable resource for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners who develop and support new home-visiting interventions. This review examines 13 research studies published between the years of 1980 and 2000 that test the effectiveness of home-visiting interventions using professional nurses as home visitors. Findings indicate that a wide range of client problems are addressed during home visits using a variety of nursing interventions. Missing from most of the reports is a clear theoretical link between the client problem addressed, the nursing intervention, and target outcomes. About half of the studies were successful in achieving desired outcomes. Future research should be directed by middle-range practice theory, clearly explicate the nursing intervention being tested, use power analysis to determine sample size, and report reliability and validity of dependent variable measures with culturally diverse samples.